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Shirin Sadikot in Ranchi

Raina yearns for No.3 spot in Indian line-up

CSK batsman says he is learning to build his innings from top order

Before MS Dhoni stole his thunder with a scorching 63 off 19 balls, Suresh Raina was the beneficiary of the loudest cheers from the Ranchi crowd. It was his knock of 84 (57 balls) that not only helped CSK recover from the first-over loss of Murali Vijay, but also set up a platform for a big total. And when he was done batting, he got rid of JP Duminy and ran Parthiv Patel out.

In the end, Raina got his thunder back when he was named the Man of the Match after CSK’s 12-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad. He spoke to clt20.com after the match about his knock, the conscious effort to bat big after getting a start and his favourite shots. He also listed down the things he has learnt from the inimitable Mr. Dhoni.

Here are excerpts from his interview:

The best thing about your knock was that you were very discreet in selecting the balls you wanted to hit. Was that a conscious effort to do that?
In the first game (against the Titans), when I scored 47, my plan was totally different. After that I decided that now when I get to a good start, I will bat till the end. I had a good partnership with MS today and he batted brilliantly. I was enjoying his batting from the other end. I’m happy that I came from 47 to 84 today. Hopefully in the next game I’ll try to play 60-70 balls and maybe get a 100.

You play that inside-out cover-drive and the one over midwicket so well. How have you mastered those shots?

I work really hard on that shot. I learned the inside-out cover-drive by watching Rahul Dravid play bowlers like Ashley Giles and Daniel Vettori. When the bowler knows you can play that shot well, he feels the pressure. With that confidence you also play other shots like the cut and the pull well.

All batsmen have that one particular shot, which when they play well, they feel good about their batting. Are these those shots for you?

You can say that. When I know that I am coming to the line of the ball and connecting it well through covers or midwicket, I know I am in good nick. My body language and my balance also feel good.

You play two completely different roles for CSK and India. Here you bat one-down and in international cricket you come in at No.5 or No.6. What do you enjoy more?

It’s always good when you’re batting at No.3. You have 45 overs in one-dayers and 20 in T20s. you can plan your innings well and don’t have to play too many big shots right away. I hope to do well at No.3 for CSK and earn the third or fourth spot in international cricket as well. I want to go to the 2015 World Cup with a lot of runs under my belt.

You’ve batted a lot with Dhoni. How does he plan his innings?

He is one of the finest players in the world. He knows exactly when to hit big and when to rotate the strike. He is one of the finest strikers of the cricket ball. I have learned a lot from him in terms of how to bat in pressure situations, how to keep your nerve and control your emotions. You need to be very clear in your mind about how exactly you want to plan your innings.

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